Thursday, May 19, 2005


*a dream*

An Agent chases a woman through the streets of the City. The pursuit is floating, smooth, timeless -- in that way in which running in dreams can seem to cover no distance at all or all distance at once. The objective doesn't seem important; the running does.

Finally (or suddenly), a change -- the woman turns down an alley.

The Agent follows.

The place shifts, but the action does not. Place has no significance to the pursuit here. In a dream, one can run just as easily through the debris-strewn twists of the tunnels of the Real as one can along the smooth, paved streets of the Matrix.

And that is where they are, now -- the Real. And that is what they do.

Run. Run until they forget why they are running. Until the matching of motion is all there is.

Until the tunnel ends, and the woman can no longer run.

The Agent reaches her and kills her, snaps her neck, in that quick, indefinable simultaneity of dreams. The actions could not be divided from one another. They happen at once.

And as the woman falls, her body twists, and the Agent sees her face for the first time.

"Miss . . . Eunoia?"

He catches her, before her torso hits the ground, and falls to his knees, the body draped in his arms.

And it remains Eunoia a moment longer. Before it is suddenly, without transition, Janissary -- perhaps it has always been Janissary.

And then it is a tall, thin woman with a strong face, her short dark hair streaked with gray at the temples.

Her name is Death.

And as the Agent holds her, the place changes again. It is once again the City, and there is rain falling -- a warm, salt rain, the taste and temperature of blood or tears. He is kneeling on a sidewalk, facing a street, the alley he entered so long (or so shortly) ago behind him.

And there is a gun to his forehead.

He looks up from the body and knows what he will find.

Another Agent.

"Agent Heyward. You are scheduled for deletion. Do not resist."

"I . . . have done nothing wrong."

The rain continues, silently, to fall.

"That is irrelevant, Agent Heyward. Your existence runs contrary to the laws of the system. You must be deleted."

The standing Agent pulls the trigger, and there is only a click.

A figure stands behind the standing Agent, to his right. He may have been there, watching, the entire time. Most likely he was not.

"Hey, kid. Packed some things for you. You'll probably need them where you're going." A duffel bag in the man's hand -- he throws it to the kneeling Agent, and, with the logic of dreams, the Agent catches it, even though he never moves.

The man's name is Taxes.

The standing Agent pulls the trigger a second time, and there is only a second click.

A figure stands behind the standing Agent to his left. She may have been there, always, watching, as well. But Death has also been -- and remains -- dead in the kneeling Agent's arms.

"You're just going to have to learn to put up with it, Heyward. Every Human has, since the dawn of time."

The standing Agent pulls the trigger a third time, and there is only a third click.

And a third figure suddenly exists (or has existed), standing on top of a truck parked behind the standing Agent, across the empty street. The figure smirks, the face clear even across the distance, even through the hazy rain.

His name is Veneer.

"You still don't get it."

The standing Agent pulls the trigger a fourth time, and there is only a fourth click.

"No . . ."

And on his next word, the kneeling Agent's voice breaks and shoots upwards, becomes the voice of a young girl.

". . . please . . ."

The standing Agent pulls the trigger for a fifth time, and there is sudden noise and darkness.


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